Morphing into cancer: the role of developmental signaling pathways in brain tumor formation

J Neurobiol. 2005 Sep 15;64(4):458-75. doi: 10.1002/neu.20166.


Morphogens play a critical role in most aspects of development, including expansion and patterning of the central nervous system. Activating germline mutations in components of the Hedgehog and Wnt pathways have provided evidence for the important roles morphogens play in the genesis of brain tumors such as cerebellar medulloblastoma. In addition, aberrant expression of transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) superfamily members has been demonstrated to contribute to progression of malignant gliomas. This review summarizes our current knowledge about the roles of morphogens in central nervous system tumorigenesis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins / physiology
  • Brain / growth & development*
  • Brain Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Trans-Activators / physiology
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / physiology
  • Wnt Proteins


  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins
  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Trans-Activators
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Wnt Proteins